The SEPARATES vs. AVR Thread

Do Separates (Preamps or Pre-pros + Amps) Sound Better Than AVRs in Direct/Bypass Modes?

  • Yes, Separates sound better than AVRs

    Votes: 19 57.6%
  • No, Separates and AVRs sound about the same

    Votes: 9 27.3%
  • No, Separates and AVRs sound about the same when they are similar in price range

    Votes: 5 15.2%

  • Total voters
    33
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,318 5 1
How are we dividing this $90K up?
In my case, I was discussing a 2-ch music-only system. I've heard a few systems where the speakers cost more than $90K, though I didn't think those systems sounded any better than my current system (which admittedly has list prices that add up to well over $30K). The speakers were YG and Magico. I will say this though, speakers made from billet aluminum look and feel so cool...
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
955 5
How are we dividing this $90K up?

If we include $65K Sony 4K projector, screen, room treatments and decoration, 90K not going to leave much left to listen to.

If it's just speakers, amp and processor then fine, mine is probably a 10K system in a modest sized room. IMO it is awesome. My system currently gets used 6-8 hours a day, 7 days a week. :O I am working my way through my entire film collection, good and bad :) and we still have at least another year to go. What would truely annoy me is spending this or even way more on something that is barely used. Worse still is the fact most of it would likely be obsolete in a year or so.

The previous system lasted over a decade and the current one is expected to do the same. The current system is roughly 2 and counting and the old system is still doing admirably elsewhere. Of course YMMV
So maybe the $1k figure was low, but the point I was trying to make (which I think everyone understood) was that if you are paying significantly more for your audio setup it SHOULD sound better.

@Irvrobinson said his system is around $30k. If he were to compare that to a system costing 3x that much it should sound MUCH better. I'm willing to bet, however, that there are systems that cost significantly more that don't actually sound better. We all know price doesn't equal better.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
289 3 27
So maybe the $1k figure was low, but the point I was trying to make (which I think everyone understood) was that if you are paying significantly more for your audio setup it SHOULD sound better.

@Irvrobinson said his system is around $30k. If he were to compare that to a system costing 3x that much it should sound MUCH better. I'm willing to bet, however, that there are systems that cost significantly more that don't actually sound better. We all know price doesn't equal better.
at a point, improvement in sound is not linear to $$ spent. That pretty much is true with most hobbies.
 
Out-Of-Phase

Out-Of-Phase

Full Audioholic
Ratings
141 1 2
So maybe the $1k figure was low, but the point I was trying to make (which I think everyone understood) was that if you are paying significantly more for your audio setup it SHOULD sound better.

@Irvrobinson said his system is around $30k. If he were to compare that to a system costing 3x that much it should sound MUCH better. I'm willing to bet, however, that there are systems that cost significantly more that don't actually sound better. We all know price doesn't equal better.
"We all know price doesn't equal better."

Well, with some people their subjective belief system becomes more accurate in their mind than reality.

The law of diminishing returns means nothing to them.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
357 5 22
I agree in that higher price doesn't always equal better. When expense gets over a certain point, any improvement is minimal and the law of diminishing returns takes over! :)
 
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S

snakeeyes

Full Audioholic
Ratings
120 1
My first system back when I was going to college ages ago was about $6K actual cost. :D

Even today, the minimum AVR I would get is the Yamaha A1000s/ Denon X3000s, which are about $1,200. :D

So the entire system for $1K seems low.
Depends what “good” is and the size of room and if you shop sales. My bedroom setup is a $270 Yamaha RXV681 after $70 credit for opening cc at AMZ, $220 pair of Q Acoustics 3020 speakers, and a $509 Rythmik L12 sub. Bought these new but on sale. The Yamaha is 90w per ch, plenty for the pair of 6ohm speakers. (no pre outs though) There was sales tax on the Yamaha so that takes me a little over $1,000. I would have to check if the speakers had sales tax but the sub didn’t. All had free shipping. I’m sure other speakers could beat the 3020 if on sale at $220 price but I like them a lot.
My theater room on the other hand....thousands and counting but worth every penny .. :)
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
3,982 21 4
I would find it reasonable that many $2500 systems can beat $20,000 plus systems!
However, my caveat is that the people with the $2500 systems did very good research before buying their system and also paid close (as in obsessive) attention to set-up and tuning for the best sound in their environment, while the $20,000 plus system owner just plugged things in without attempting to tune his system.
Of course, AudioQuest cables are the true equalizer to ensure money gets spent recklessly!
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Seriously, I have no life.
Ratings
5,933 14 6
The question is, what is the average price (of diminishing returns) for a great HT System (just audio part, not video)?

So speakers, AVR, amps, etc., not projector or TV.

And in terms of both MSRP and actual stree price.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
289 3 27
I would find it reasonable that many $2500 systems can beat $20,000 plus systems!
However, my caveat is that the people with the $2500 systems did very good research before buying their system and also paid close (as in obsessive) attention to set-up and tuning for the best sound in their environment, while the $20,000 plus system owner just plugged things in without attempting to tune his system.
Of course, AudioQuest cables are the true equalizer to ensure money gets spent recklessly!
I don't know about 'many' but 'some' yes. Besides, if one wants do do analog as a source and do it well then it's virtually impossible to do a complete set up for $2500. That number is a starting point for decent analog alone.
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,318 5 1
@Irvrobinson said his system is around $30k. If he were to compare that to a system costing 3x that much it should sound MUCH better. I'm willing to bet, however, that there are systems that cost significantly more that don't actually sound better. We all know price doesn't equal better.
How speakers sound is not a one-dmensional issue. For example, one of the reasons my system sounds as good as it does, IMO, is that my listening room is about 8500 cuft, and the speakers and the sub (and the furniture) are placed for optimal sound quality without regard for "interior design". If you really want acoustic instruments to sound live they need to be reproduced at sound levels comparable to what the actual instruments produce, and you can get closer to similar sound levels in a large room. Once you're in a large room, you need speakers capable of low-distortion output at the high output levels longer listening distances require. Very often people who can afford expensive speakers have rather large rooms. (Note for example the OP of this thread, who solved his large-room problem with five huge RBH towers.) Big speakers that sound excellent at high sound levels are usually expensive.

Then there's the fit and finish issue. The Revels I use have marvelous drivers, crossovers, cabinet design, and cabinet inertness, but they really aren't in the upper echelon of fit and finish. The Magicos I mentioned earlier are billet aluminum works of art, and if you're looking for that level of look and feel that costs a lot. Does that artwork make the $75K Magico M3s sound obviously better than the Salon2s? Not in my opinion, but I understand if someone with the financial means decides that the fit and finish are worth paying for. The appearance difference between the M3s and the Salon2s is quite striking.
 
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AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Seriously, I have no life.
Ratings
5,933 14 6
Many people think that older components lose sound quality as they significantly age (older caps, etc.).

So do newer components sound better than older ones?

Newer pre-pros sound better than older pre-pros.

Could newer AVRs sound better than older separates ?

Sometimes we’re not exactly certain why the new one sounds better than the old one, but we can just hear the difference. :D

Perhaps the new settings are slightly different even when we try to set them up the same way?

Or is it all expectation effects/ placebo?

All I know is that it seems my new Yamaha pre-pro sounds better than my old Denon AVP.
So if newer components sound better than older components (due to deteriorating parts or older technology),why plan on keeping something for a long time?
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
186 5 1
Many people think that older components lose sound quality as they significantly age (older caps, etc.).

So do newer components sound better than older ones?

Newer pre-pros sound better than older pre-pros.

Could newer AVRs sound better than older separates ?

Sometimes we’re not exactly certain why the new one sounds better than the old one, but we can just hear the difference. :D

Perhaps the new settings are slightly different even when we try to set them up the same way?

Or is it all expectation effects/ placebo?

All I know is that it seems my new Yamaha pre-pro sounds better than my old Denon AVP.
So if newer components sound better than older components (due to deteriorating parts or older technology),why plan on keeping something for a long time?
I plan on keeping stuff for a long time because I'm poor. My Chevy Tahoe has 470,000 miles on it. Right now one windshield wiper works, the air conditioning has not worked in years, the 4 wheel drive is out, and the fan only works on high. Oh, it will not start if it's raining. But, nevertheless, I do repair what I need to so I can get around town. I'm that way with my stereo, keeping my components until they can no longer be repaired. Newest component I've purchased is a Technics turntable, but not to replace my 43 year old Sony turntable, just to see if a modern well reviewed table can sound better than what I've already got. At any rate, I do not believe the rest of my system will sound better with replacement of anything.
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,318 5 1
Many people think that older components lose sound quality as they significantly age (older caps, etc.).

So do newer components sound better than older ones?

Newer pre-pros sound better than older pre-pros.

Could newer AVRs sound better than older separates ?

Sometimes we’re not exactly certain why the new one sounds better than the old one, but we can just hear the difference. :D

Perhaps the new settings are slightly different even when we try to set them up the same way?

Or is it all expectation effects/ placebo?

All I know is that it seems my new Yamaha pre-pro sounds better than my old Denon AVP.
So if newer components sound better than older components (due to deteriorating parts or older technology),why plan on keeping something for a long time?
You're making gross generalizations. Assessing aging in electronics has to be done on a case-by-case basis, and the only appropriate way is by bench testing. Electronics don't have expiration dates like food and drugs, but environmental factors and manufacturing variations can make some components degrade before others that are ostensibly identical.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Seriously, I have no life.
Ratings
5,933 14 6
You're making gross generalizations. Assessing aging in electronics has to be done on a case-by-case basis, and the only appropriate way is by bench testing. Electronics don't have expiration dates like food and drugs, but environmental factors and manufacturing variations can make some components degrade before others that are ostensibly identical.
It’s obvious I’m making a broad generalization.

I’m sure bench testing could confirm measurement differences.

But it’s not like many of have bench-testing equipment and the knowledge and experience to bench test.

@PENG mentioned in another thread that his new X4400 AVR seems to have better bass than his old high-end Marantz flagship Pre-pro. They both have the same Audyssey XT32, or do they? Or is it something else that’s causing the improved bass sound?

Others have said similar things.

It’s a broad generalization and probably not very accurate, but it has been perceived many times.

I have also perceived this. However, going from a Denon to Yamaha is different than from a Marantz to Denon (I would think).

The setup plays a big role. But the features also play an important role. So perhaps the perceived better sound is probably because of these 2 factors.

Without bench test, which isn’t accessible to most of us who don’t have the knowledge and experience of testing, we can only wonder.
 
B

Bookmark

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
24
Coming from the Piorneer AX10i to the Yamaha 5100 I can say a large number of my dvd/blu ray soundtracks have gained a big, if not major improvement in the change. It is not just the Nad driving the Tannoys with much greater authority and improve bottom end. It is the total surround field. Element which went previously unnoticed pop up all over the place. Channel levels between the two setups were the same although, the main volume is actually lower (due to the neighbours :( ). Speakers, sub, cabling and the 7.1 layout are all unchanged.

The rain still pours down overhead, thunder rolls around the room, but it is with the smaller deft touches that the Yamaha streaks ahead. Last night watching Priest (2011) Maggie Q's chain knife whips around the room at lightning speed in a way it never has before. Even numerous subjectively dull films have gain a new life. It is also equally true that bad films/sound tracks are still bad, although occasionally it can be improved with the up mixers. :)

I was watching Doc Hollywood (Dolby Stereo) and the scene near the end at the squash festival has children running across the screen holding sparklers which I had never heard before. A beautiful front pan. Perhaps it is my faded memory from when I first saw it or that I have being paying more attention to the sound lately, but it is a change for the better and one I greatly appreciate. YMMV of course :)
 

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